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UK ban on LTTE to prevail

COLOMBO: Visiting British Minister Dr. Kim Howells asserted there was no likelihood of de-proscribing the LTTE which still continues to use terrorism as a mode for winning their demands.

“This will not happen while the LTTE continues to use terrorism. The targeting of civilians make the case ever more strongly that our decision to proscribe the LTTE was totally justified.”

“Before we change our views on this the LTTE must renounce violence in word and deed,” the junior minister who concluded a two-day visit here yesterday said in a statement issued last afternoon.

Referring to the military action in the North-East, Howell said the perception that fire should be dealt with fire was ‘wrong’.

“For the last 24 years the front lines have moved north and south along the A9, but neither side has been able to win a decisive victory,” he observed adding that even if there was a victory for Government forces a political solution was a must to prevent the recurrence of an upsurge.

This they have learnt from the bitter experience of the Northern Ireland issue.

“The Army could contain the terrorist campaign, but it could not address the causes.”

He said a security led response to terrorism can end up strengthening the terrorists. This was again a bitter lesson they have learnt in Northern Ireland where the introduction of internment without trial in 1971 resulted in a sudden boost in the IRA’s recruitments.

“I’m sure that similarly the reports of human rights abuses and civilian deaths are being used by the LTTE to win arguments and raise money’ among the Tamil people here and aborad,” Howells said highlighting the negative impact it will have on the country’s image.

Raising the matter of Human rights the junior minister said the issue would also make it difficult for the international community to extend the political support the Government needs.

He said British wanted to see Sri Lanka remain as a single country, like India and Indonesia where they have formed prosperous and united nations out of diverse linguistic and religious groups.

Howells during this third visit to Sri Lanka met the President and the Opposition Leader.

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